I read your recent article on The Great Elk Company ("Genuinely Global," Oct. 99 issue) with great interest. While agreeing with Rich Bohn's opinion about The Great Elk's success worldwide, I think a key point was missed.
Mr. Bohn rated the Visual Elk suite of software quite high except in the area of sales impact. It is here where he suggests that The Great Elk Company should build predetermined functionality around the selling process. I disagree. Sales functionality in a CRM system should not be inherent in the base product and The Great Elk Company has figured that out.
As a former salesperson, sales manager and now leader of the CRM initiative at Moore Corporation, I can tell you from experience that predetermined sales processes and opportunity management systems are unrealistic and will go unadopted by the field force. The Great Elk Company is one of the few organizations that realize the potential in allowing the customer to configure solutions to their unique business requirements.
As Mr. Bohn's article stated, The Great Elk is "genuinely" global and this is one of the key reasons why we selected their solution (Visual Elk) for Moore. They are also "genuine" in their approach to technology-enabled selling and hold user adoption as a key criterion for a successful initiative.
Providing a highly configurable solution gives Moore a vehicle to continuously improve our solution and retain a high user-adoption rate. Mr. Bohn would have benefited from the following fact: During a detailed, intensive measurement campaign to determine the sales impact at Moore, we were able to determine that sales representatives who used Visual Elk most effectively consistently had up to 32 percent better new business sales results. Soon Moore will have over 2000 users on Visual Elk and we are looking forward to passing the benefit of this sales impact to our shareholders.
It is true, Visual Elk is not a system filled with colorful predetermined best practices. Rather, it is designed with functionality to continuously improve and support the end user, that in turn supports the one element that really counts, our customer.
Except for this one point, Mr. Bohn's assessment was right on the mark.
Director, Enterprise Sales Process
Moore North America